Threefer Deal: Zoo + Aquarium + Beach
The Metro Moms love combining fun and great deals. Our pick for the best membership on offer in the New York City area? A Wildlife Conservation Society membership gets your family free unlimited access and parking at the New York Aquarium, Bronx and Central Park Zoos.
For $164, two adults plus one guest (hello, Grandma!) and their kids can visit these world-renowned destinations. Parking alone was $13 at the New York Aquarium when the Metro Moms took a detour there last week. We checked out the brand new coral exhibit in blessedly cool indoor darkness, saw a giant walrus and visited the penguins and sharks. We wound up our trip with a live sea lion show with rollicking rock music that had the crowd on their feet cheering for soaring sea lions as they dove off platforms and leaped for lofty balls.
But the fun doesn’t end at the aquarium door. Steps from the entrance is a ramp that leads to the Coney Island boardwalk. The Metro Moms had to tear our toddlers away from the lure of sand and surf to force them into the aquarium. And when we released the beasts, they made a beeline for the sand and dove in happily for a few hours. Fortunately, there is a bathroom right at the base of the boardwalk by the aquarium ramp. And if you need a change of clothes? Your car is steps away in the aquarium parking lot – no risk of towing since the lot is open until 2am in the summertime.
After our little surfers got their fill of the soft sand and sea bathing, we headed for Nathan’s hot dogs and the Coney Island rides. The kids rode in circles on tiny boats and motorcycles while looking longingly at the all-wood Cyclone rollercoaster – sorry, guys, you need to grow another six inches before you can ride on that! Fortunately, the giant ferris wheel is fair game with no minimum height or age limits. The Metro Moms took our kids for a ride in the sky and got to see Brooklyn for miles around.
The aquarium and Coney Island are open all year round but summer weekdays are the best time for visits since the sights are not crowded and you get to enjoy the beach. There’s still time to squeeze in one last summer outing less than an hour from New Jersey.
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